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Joe Riggs

Audio levels should be around -12db?

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A quasi continuation from my other recent posts.

 

The hits just keep coming; let's talk levels for a moment.  I've gone through the audio for the first couple days and the levels are pretty low around -42 to -30db and occasionally peaking around -24db. This is occurring for both the boom and lavs. From my understanding the levels should be around -12db?

I'm not just talking about Wide shots where the boom can't be near the actors either, the same thing is happening in Mediums and O/S, and it's not framed in some artistic way, the players heads are near the top of the frame, so the boom mic if placed properly should be giving a pretty strong signal and I imagine the lavs should be as well.

The boom mic, sounds okay when boosting the signal, but clearly with the boost, noise is being added. The lav on the other hand sounds pretty bad with a boosted signal.

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It seems you're not gain staging or setting up your levels from mixer to recorder and or camera properly. More information is needed to explain your ultra low levels & noise.

 

Eric

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One way to fix this problem is to have the DP place a tire somewhere in the background of each shot, or at least the master... then when you boost all the gains to have a workable soundtrack, the accompanying hiss created should make some sense... there is simply air coming out of the tire...

 

On a more serious note, and not to be impolite, but the poor person is woefully unqualified for the job position... he or she missed the target on almost all points of concern..  at least something showed up on the tracks... +1 for them...

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(ALL REF TO dBFS)  I would tend to shoot for consistent -14 to -10dB peaks.  We're talking about normal dialogue here - if the talent is whispering or soft spoken, there is no need to try to force it to modulate at -10.  If a few occasional peaks slip through right up to the limiter - no problem.  I would suspect the experience of someone who tries to really go for it and make their levels hot right up to the limiter as a standard - too risky.  If someone delivers consistent -20db (even down to -24dB) levels, there's nothing "wrong" with that as the levels should be able to be brought up to appropriate levels with minimal noise if recorded in 24 bit, with everything gain staged correctly, and with professional level gear.  If it is a known fact that the show is mostly going to be cut with ISOs, the mix is just scratch, it is an unscripted show, comedy act with dynamic deliveries, etc... some good reasons to provide a very conservative -20dB or lower recording.  If you can't bring up -24dB without unacceptable noise levels, then the recordist was either recording in an unacceptably noisy location, didn't know how to gain stage his gear, or was otherwise using unprofessional equipment.

 

I mean, from what I've heard regarding this and other posts of yours, it sounds like the location recordist blew it - production's fault really, for not vetting their production mixer or not allocating enough funds to bring on a professional - now it's time to pay the piper.

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Joe Riggs is going to clean up ($$$) on this show...

if it is really a show...

 

" occasionally peaking around -24db. "

perhaps since this was recorded at 32FP/44.1 these are like neverclip trax ??

 

I agree that more clear, complete information would be helpful, but it also appears that it is what it is, and growling about it will not change that,  so Joe, just deal with it, and bill the client appropriately. (don't worry, they saved a bunch on production sound)

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But when you do bring up the gain, do the voices sound distant or close? If they are close, i.e. the boom mic at least might have been in the right position, the audio might be salvageable. If not, I think it'll be tricky

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One way to fix this problem is to have the DP place a tire somewhere in the background of each shot, or at least the master... then when you boost all the gains to have a workable soundtrack, the accompanying hiss created should make some sense... there is simply air coming out of the tire...

 

Brilliant!

 

 

Agreed about the apparent lack of qualifications of the person in the field. Sigh.

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The meters in FCP/Avid etc are only for general reference anyhow--they are not showing you true peak, and they have unknown ballistics.  Production mixers tend to be conservative about peaks.  Iso tracks tend to be significantly lower level than mix tracks, that is as it should be.

 

philp

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That is low, unless the mixer was anticipating the talent to go from quiet to screaming, in which case the level could jump as much as 50db.

It sounds like you have tasked with cleaning up the mistakes of an ill equipped, and probably inexperienced psm.

Btw, -12 would be really hot for any scene with dynamic preformance. maybe expected in an interview, but i would expect lower if the situation isn't totally controlled.

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That is low, unless the mixer was anticipating the talent to go from quiet to screaming, in which case the level could jump as much as 50db.

It sounds like you have tasked with cleaning up the mistakes of an ill equipped, and probably inexperienced psm.

Btw, -12 would be really hot for any scene with dynamic preformance. maybe expected in an interview, but i would expect lower if the situation isn't totally controlled.

I record peaks to -12 all the time... you get a feel scene to scene... it's never been a problem....  If it's more an Improv thing, I back off my ISO a bit more, but with a limiter engaged on my mix track.. I have never had an issue...

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" -42 to -30db low? That's pretty low. "

not for 32 bit neverclip...

" you have tasked with cleaning up the mistakes of an ill equipped, and probably inexperienced psm. "

and probably an inexperienced, and ill-equipped movie maker...

it is what it is... your work is cut out for you... start the clock, and...cha-ching.

Edited by studiomprd

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I record peaks to -12 all the time... you get a feel scene to scene... it's never been a problem.... If it's more an Improv thing, I back off my ISO a bit more, but with a limiter engaged on my mix track.. I have never had an issue...

The point i wanted to make was about large dynamic range content, more so than about ideal levels. Knowing nothing about the content recorded, it's hard to say where the peak levels should sit.

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" mis-using the term neverclip "

you mean NeverClip ?? that is Zaxcom's system.

I'm generic,  and a 32bit sample has even more dynamic range potential than Zaxcom's NeverClip

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I record peaks to -12 all the time... you get a feel scene to scene... it's never been a problem.... If it's more an Improv thing, I back off my ISO a bit more, but with a limiter engaged on my mix track.. I have never had an issue...

+1

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Phil: This is a good point, one that many editors seem to be blissfully ignorant of. Although useful for steady-state signals, they are nowhere near the ballistics of any professional meter I've ever encountered.

 

--S

The meters in FCP/Avid etc are only for general reference anyhow--they are not showing you true peak, and they have unknown ballistics.  Production mixers tend to be conservative about peaks.  Iso tracks tend to be significantly lower level than mix tracks, that is as it should be.

 

philp

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